The Mother's Day Tea Mug
“Is my nose really this big?”
I whispered the question to Dan this morning after the boys came in with a tray bearing my Mother’s Day gifts, which included a pottery mug supposedly bearing my likeness that David, my six-year-old, made in school, and the breakfast that Jared, my eight-year-old, made in the kitchen. I’m already self-conscious about my oversized schnoz, and when I saw the one on my mug from David, I was ready to book that appointment with a plastic surgeon.
Dan assured me he thinks my nose is “cute,” but I’m not buying that.
A better mother wouldn’t have pondered such things and would have graciously accepted the tray of cereal and burned toast with a smile on her face—which I did—but without thinking, “I wonder how much they wrecked the kitchen?” So I ate the soggy Cheerios, insisted on sharing my toast with Dan, and proved to David that I really did love my new mug by heading into the kitchen and steeping a cup of English Breakfast Tea.
I don’t know where his teacher got the clay or whatever probably-toxic substance this thing is made of, but it weighs ten pounds empty, and with tea, a solid fifteen. As soon as I finished sipping, I told David I loved the mug way too much to use it every day, and I plucked a hydrangea blossom from a vase by the kitchen window and voila, a new tea mug vase.
Mother’s Day ought to be renamed National Motherhood Guilt Day. Seriously. Older moms may enjoy this day and bask in the adoration of their successful adult children, but those of us with young kids? We know we’ll never be Mother of the Year. I’m simply trying to get my boys through elementary school without too many more calls to the principal’s office.
And two nights ago, I had just finished doing laundry when Jared ran in yelling that David had something stuck in his cast and couldn’t get it out. Yeah. As if a cast isn’t bad enough…
Turns out, David had an itch on his broken leg and wondered if a plastic army man holding a bayonet might relieve his symptoms. He poked the stupid thing so far up his cast that it got stuck and was causing him, apparently, excruciating levels of pain.
I did not enjoy explaining this to the good people on duty at Emergency Care. One of them remembered us from the night David first broke his leg six weeks ago, but then it’s not every day a kid comes in with a leg flopping out from under his Iron Man costume and refusing to let go of his plastic pumpkin full of Halloween candy. In March.
My boys are forever challenging me to research new topics that none of the parenting manuals ever address. Forget about the books on teaching kids self-esteem and anti-bullying stuff. I want to see a book for kids with chapters titled “Places You Do Not Poke Marbles” and “Why We Don’t Replace Mommy’s Ocean Scent Body Mist with Windex.”
This morning before church, I spent twenty minutes trying to figure out what Jared did with the khakis I laid out for him yesterday. They were pressed and draped across his beanbag chair when I kissed him good night, but this morning, there was nothing there. Nada. He hadn’t seen the pants. David said he hadn’t seen them either, and just to be sure, I looked up his cast, though Dan said that was overkill. So maybe there’s a pants thief wandering around the neighborhood and I just haven’t read that e-mail from the homeowners association yet, but I doubt it.
After Sunday School, the boys came out with Mother’s Day cards they’d made for me. Jared’s was addressed to “World’s Best Mom, Amy Simpson.” David’s was a fill-in-the-blank model from his Sunday School book, and it read, “I love my mom because …” and he’d written, “she makes good tacos sometimes.” Sometimes?
The pastor called on all the moms to stand up and be recognized, and I thought—not for the first time—that a gift certificate for babysitting would be a much nicer gift than the carnation and bookmark they give us Every. Single. Year.
After church, we headed to Dan’s mom’s for lunch. I called my mom on the way to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. She and my dad are in Hawaii on vacation, and they were about to go snorkeling. Sigh.
Dan’s mom loves to cook, hallelujah, and the boys gave her the new Pioneer Woman cookbook, which she appeared to love.
After lunch, we went home, and I got my real gift this year. Dan took the boys to the park for two whole hours. I was going to organize my crafts studio, read my new novel, and wash the boys’ ball uniforms for this week’s games. Instead, I took a nap.
When I woke up, Dan and the boys were just getting back. He’d gotten a pizza for supper, bless him. A few hours of computer games later, and it was time to tuck the boys in for the night.
Jared is my easy child and goes off to sleep without a fuss. David, this time, was actually kind of quiet—for him—when I went in to say good night.
“Did you really like your mug, Mom?” David asked.
“Sweetie, I love it,” I said. “Didn’t you see me drinking tea out of it this morning and then using it as a new vase?”
“Yeah,” he said, “but my teacher made all the noses too big. I told her your nose is much smaller than that, and my mug isn’t nearly as pretty as you are.”
I gave him a kiss, told him I loved him, tucked the Iron Man sheets around him, and headed to the kitchen, where I admired my beautiful new tea mug-slash-vase.
Happy Mother’s Day? Yeah, it was.